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Summer Romance Ends In Death Of Teen

September 20, 1986

BENICIA, Calif. (AP) _ A summer romance ended in tragedy as a 15-year-old girl’s stunned schoolmates watched her ex-boyfriend stick a gun in her side, pull the trigger, then cry, ″Don’t die. Don’t die,″ friends said.

Flags flew at half-staff Friday at Benicia High School as small groups of students whispered about the shooting that killed Heather Dunn and put 18- year-old Leonard Rubio in custody at a state mental hospital.

Police say Rubio rode his bicycle to campus Thursday afternoon and waited for Miss Dunn during a break between classes.

The two argued, apparently about breaking up their summer-long romance, then Rubio pulled out a .38-caliber revolver, stuck it in her ribs and fired, police said.

″All of a sudden, we hear a boom and a scream,″ said student Leslie Nixon. ″We ran over. She just looked dead. We could see the blood coming out of her mouth.

″I started crying. Everyone was screaming and crying. He was leaning over, and he was saying, ’Don’t die. Don’t die.‴

District Attorney Mike Nail said he would decide Monday whether Rubio will be charged with murder. Rubio, booked for investigation of murder, was undergoing a 72-hour psychiatric evaluation at Napa State Hospital.

″He said he was sorry,″ said police Capt. Dennis Gard. ″I think he just lost it. It was his girlfriend. He loved her a lot, and it just got out of control.″

Friends said Miss Dunn was easy-going in their relationship and Rubio was possessive and jealous.

″They started fighting because she wanted to break up and see other people,″ said Wendy West, 16, who said she was about 20 feet from the shooting scene near the school gym. ″I guess he didn’t like that, so he shot her.

″He told her she couldn’t leave him - that it wasn’t right. He told her he loved her. He pulled out the gun and stuck it in her side and shot her.

″Then he said he didn’t know it was loaded and told her not to die.″

More than 40 counselors, ministers, psychologists and city officials went to the school Friday to help the students deal with the violent death.

″We are trying to carry on as best we can under the circumstances,″ said John Galvan, vice principal.

″There was nothing that any of us could have done,″ Principal Laura Stephenson said in a school announcement. ″A number of students worried that she suffered. (Doctors) assured me that she did not suffer, and she died instantly.″

The principal said there was a lot of hugging and crying at the school in the town of 23,000 about 30 miles northeast of San Francisco.

Rubio, who graduated from the high school in June, planned to attend the University of California at Davis. Ms. Stephenson said he was ″your basic regular guy, your regular jock.

″Just a nice kid. He got better than average grades. You wouldn’t expect anything like this. We’re all just stunned.″

Robert Riddle, a neighbor of Rubio’s, said: ″I used to see him riding his 10-speed around here. He had a good career ahead of him. It’s a tragedy for him, and now her life is over.″

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